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Cabo's Corner Bistro; Surfish Station and Raw Bar

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Looking over menu you get the idea that chef Chris DiLauro plans his menu with interest and with a respect for the individuality of his ingredients. His primaries are classics — veal, rockfish, pork, duck, salmon and chicken — and his secondary ingredients offer an interesting twist and rarely get mixed up in more than one relationship at a time.

Though I usually avoid salmon, which has become as ubiquitous as the boneless chicken breast, I was attracted to the intimacy of Cabo's description: "Seared Atlantic salmon embraced with pancetta" ($19). Who wouldn't want to be embraced by pancetta? The pancetta clutches to the salmon like a honeymooner, yet neither item loses its personality. The dish is plated over French lentils with a roomy oyster cream.

Other items on the menu include: sauté of rockfish "resting" on toasted cornbread, black-eyed peas and spicy crayfish butter ($18); sirloin of buffalo with wild mushrooms and tomato ragout finished with roasted garlic ($25); scaloppine of veal with brown butter, lemon, capers and artichokes ($22); and the lone vegetarian item, whole roasted yellow pepper filled with brown rice, couscous, apricots, eggplant and black olives "accented" with beet vinaigrette ($17). The most interesting salad is the locally grown arugula with a truffle balsamic vinaigrette, oven-dried tomato and Parmigiano reggiano ($7).

Good coffee and a green-apple bread pudding capped with a web of melted white cheddar cheese ($6) made for a robust finale. — Noel Patrick

2053 W. Broad St.
Dinner Tuesday-Saturday from 5 p.m.

Entrees on the menu at include seafood platters, crab cakes, fish and the requisite prime rib, chicken and surf 'n' turf, all priced under $20. Specials were chicken Alfredo, frog legs, soft-shell crabs and a tuna-steak sandwich. I decided on the pasta du jour ($15.95) — penne with plentiful shrimp and scallops in a creamy, pink marinara sauce that was tasty and complementary to the seafood. My companion chose the soft-shell crab special, billed as three pan-fried specimens served on toast with french fries and slaw ($26.95). The crabs arrived still sporting a good deal of flour, and my companion reported that they were rather mushy and underdone.

After two visits, I can say that what Surfish Station offers is an informal setting for a wide range of patrons — bikers, grannies, babies and yupsters. The food is reasonably priced if not impeccably prepared, the service has potential to be wonderful, depending on who you get, and the setting is innovative, depending on where you sit. Time will tell which experience dominates and determines the fate of this newbie. — Carter Braxton

2905 Patterson Ave.
Dinner daily

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